UNCG falls to Furman despite four in double figures
GREENVILLE, S.C. - Furman got 21 points and eight rebounds from Amu Saaka and overcame a 17-point first half deficit to defeat UNC Greensboro 72-64 in Southern Conference men's basketball action Thursday night at Timmons Arena.
UNCG (5-17, 4-7 SoCon) saw a 17-point first-half lead slip away as it missed 20 of 21 shots from the floor in a 16-minute span. UNCG led 34-17 with 4:12 to play in the opening half. But the Spartans went 10 minutes, 11 seconds between baskets - spanning the end of the first half and start of the second half.
The Spartans had four players in double-figures, led by Kendall Toney with 17 points. Ben Stywall had his 11th double-double of the year with 12 points and 13 rebounds. He leads the SoCon in that category and has five double-doubles in the last six games.
Kyle Randall added 14 points and five assists, while Mikko Koivisto had 11 points, all in the first half, for UNCG.
Furman (11-11, 5-6 SoCon) also got 17 points from Jordan Miller and 12 points by Justin Dehm.
Trailing by 12, UNCG cut the margin in half with 1:48 to go on back-to-back treys by Toney with 1:48. Randall's conventional three-point play with 30.2 seconds left made it a three-point game, 67-74. But Miller knocked down 5-of-6 from the free throw line for Furman in the final 30 seconds to put the game away.
It was the 16th time 17 home city meetings that the home team has won. UNCG won the first meeting in Greensboro this season, 88-78. The all-time series is now tied at 9-9.
The Spartans jumped out quickly to an 11-2 lead, forcing Furman to call an early timeout less than four minutes in. After making four of their first five from the floor, the Spartans cooled off in missing seven of their next nine. But UNCG defended well to keep the lead and eventually the offense caught gear again, reversing things to make 7-of-9 from the floor.
Back-to-back jumpers by Kyle Randall got it started again and the Spartans had their first double-digit lead of the night at 24-13. That began a 13-4 run for UNCG, capped off by Koivisto's third trey of the night that gave the Spartans a 17-point advantage, 32-15.
But Furman made a run before the break as UNCG's offense slipped away again and this time for much longer. The Paladins scored 10 straight points to cut the lead to seven, capped off by a jumper by Saaka with 1:48 left in the half. The Spartans still managed to take a 36-27 lead to the locker room.
UNCG's offensive struggles continued into the second half as the Spartans' field goal drought hit more than 10 minutes. Brandon Sebriumbi's field goal cut it to 36-31 and Darryl Evans' trey a minute later drew Furman to within two.
Furman finally got its first lead, 37-36, when Dehm knocked down a three-pointer from the left corner. That capped a 20-2 run by the Paladins. Stywall finally scored on a putback with 14:01 left in the second half to end UNCG's drought - 10 minutes, 11 seconds later - which momentarily gave the Spartans the lead again.
UNCG continued to struggle, though, as Furman's lead stretched to seven. Jordan Miller's jumper with 8:23 to play gave the Paladins a 52-45 lead.
The Spartans got back to within three on Kendall Toney's trey with 7:30 to play, 52-49. But the Paladins countered with a 9-2 spurt, capped off by a Saaka put back, to give Furman's its first double-digit lead of the night, 61-51 with 5:21 to play.
UNCG will look to bounce back when it visits Wofford on Saturday for a 7 p.m. contest.
FURMAN 72, UNCG 64
UNCG (5-17, 4-7 SoCon)
Kendall Toney 5-14 2-2 17; Kyle Randall 5-12 4-5 14; Ben Stywall 4-11 4-9 12; Mikko Koivisto 3-9 2-3 11; Elhanan Bone 2-4 0-2 4; Pete Brown 0-1 2-2 2; Korey Van Dussen 1-4 0-0 2; Montel Smith 0-0 2-2 2; Deangelo Jackson 0-0 0-0; Brian Cole 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 20-58 16-25 64.
FURMAN (11-11, 5-6 SoCon)
Amu Saaka 8-13 4-4 21; Jordan Miller 3-10 9-10 17; Justin Dehm 5-8 1-1 12; Darryl Evans 2-4 0-0 6; Noah States 2-4 0-1 5; Bryson Barnes 2-7 0-3 4; Brandon Sebirumbi 2-3 0-0 4; Chris Toler 1-3 1-2 3; Colin Reddick 0-0 0-1 0; Neil Duval 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-52 15-22 72.
Halftime: UNCG 36-27. 3-point goals--UNCG 8-20 (Kendall Toney 5-11; Mikko Koivisto 3-7; Elhanan Bone 0-1; Kyle Randall 0-1), Furman 7-19 (Jordan Miller 2-6; Darryl Evans 2-4; Amu Saaka 1-3; Noah States 1-2; Justin Dehm 1-3; Bryson Barnes 0-1). Fouled out--UNCG-None, Furman-None. Rebounds--UNCG 37 (Ben Stywall 13), Furman 37 (Amu Saaka 8). Assists--UNCG 12 (Kyle Randall 5), Furman 12 (Noah States 3; Darryl Evans 3). Total fouls--UNCG 23, Furman 21. Technical fouls--UNCG-None, Furman-None. A-1041
FREE THROWS: Brandon Evans did not dress for the game after suffering a thigh bruise in practice Wednesday night. He tried to go in Thursday's shootaround, but was scratched from the line-up. He is day-to-day... After opening the second half 1-for-17 from the floor, UNCG managed to go 6-for-14 the rest of the way... Koivisto moved up to 13th on the school's career scoring list... Stywall moved into third place on the school's career rebounding list, passing Eric Cuthrell. Stywall now has 870 rebounds in his career... Stywall's 11 double-doubles is tied for the second-most in a season in UNCG history. Kyle Hines holds the record with 14.
- UNCG -